It's Quentin Tarantino week! The pop-cultural force has a hurricane in theaters this week called, "Inglourious Basterds," and of course he's everywhere. Much has obviously been made about the curious spelling of the title of the film and in various interviews, when asked why the title is misspelled, he's given two answers. One is generally, "I'm not telling you why, it's a secret," and the second is "it’s just an artistic stroke," like he told Vulture this week.
Now let's appropriate the comment he made in Vulture's post to explain our thoughts on the matter.
Not sure I buy the "artistic flourish" thing because if you read the script throughout, sometimes he spells it completely correct and sometimes he doesn't and there's really no rhyme or reason to it. I think he just hand wrote the title and that version became the final one, but he easily could have spelled it correctly and would have never known the difference.Yup, that's pretty much what we still think. Here's some evidence. The title page from the leaked script that everyone and their grandmother has read? He clearly scribbled in his own handwriting.
Then just one page later on the table of contents, the title is now spelled, "Inglorious Basterds." One out of two words ain't too bad when it comes to Quentin's spelling.
Then on page 17, the title comes up again and once more, it's the second choice of spelling, "Inglorious Basterds."
One page later, the Chapter section comes up again. Guess how it's spelled? But we'll give Quentin this. At least he consistently spells "Basterds" incorrectly.
Err, sort of. After several pages of getting it right, on page 24, Tarantino calls them, the "Bastreds."
But maybe the spelling of 'Basterds' is a purposeful affectation that the soldiers have chosen themselves? But on page 81 even Gen Ed. Fenech (Mike Meyers) calls these bastards, basterds. How would a British General thousand of miles away know this? Or is it just that Tarantino just really believes this is how bastards is spelled?
Now we don't mean to be stickler pricks, lord knows our spelling ain't for shit either, but we're upfront about it. What we're saying is this: Tarantino, in his excitement, probably quickly scrawled the title on a blank sheet of paper as his cover page, faxed it to Lawrence Bender his producer and all the other key folks (of course it was on the Internet about five minutes after this) and when people asked him about this he likely just said, "oh, it's just a flourish." Our point is he could have spelled it, "Ichlorioushez Basterdz" and that might've ended up the final title as well (after all, who's going to question the great Quentin?).
One of our contribs Drew Taylor adds this awesome note: Did you ever read "Killer Instinct," Don Murphy's book about the making of "Natural Born Killers"? He talks about how Tarantino is a terrible speller and how they had all these problems because of it [ed. lol].
Inconsistency seems to be the name of the Tarantino game these days. In several interviews this week he's said that everything in Chapter One and Two of 'Basterds' is old, written several years ago. But then when he's asked what is new he says, everything with Shosanna and the cinematheque, essentially Chapters Three, Four & Five (we'd find you links, but it's pretty much in every single interview he gives and there's 5,000 of them out there).
However, Chapter One is nothing more than a set-up to get the story in motion: (spoilers ahead, but it's all in the synopsis) Colonel Hans Landa (Christoph Waltz) kills the family of Jewish French girl Shosanna (Melanie Dreyfus) which years later leads to the ultimate revenge on the Nazis. Sure, Chapter One is also there to display the awesome detective skills and relentlessness of Landa, but more to the point, it gives Shosanna her burning drive for vengeance (which, spoiler! she gets in the end) that drives the narrative forward. So which one is it Quentin?